MUMBAI: The use of mobile video is spreading to all parts of Indian society according to a new report, helped by the advent of 4G services and falling mobile data costs.

The study, by digital media company Culture Machine and market researcher Kantar IMRB, was based on a combination of the former's AI-powered video intelligence tool, the latter's 8,000-strong smartphone panel and interviews with 1,500 OTT users across the county.

"Mobile video has definitely come of age and is the new leveller," said Hemant Mehta, managing director of Kantar IMRB.

"Over 40% of users are from the lower socio-economic groups (SEC C/D/E) and as many as 65% are from non-metros. Also, mobile video is not a youth phenomenon anymore, with over 25-year-olds contributing equally."

Two things stood out, he added: "the strong engagement levels that women have with mobile videos and the fact that it's not just about entertainment.

"We found that education, while being the third most watched genre, generated over a billion views; especially for the content-focused on toddlers and pre-schoolers."

The study also found that YouTube delivered the maximum reach among online mobile video viewers, at 1.5 times that of Facebook.

But Facebook scored better on engagement as people accessed the platform more frequently than YouTube – almost 2.5 times more in the course of a month.

Further, one in three mobile smartphone video viewers was accessing an OTT video platform, and 80% of these would consider paying a premium to access exclusive content; women and those aged between 15-24 were most likely to be avid users.

Overall, the average smartphone user devoted more than three hours a week to watching video content on their smartphones.

While the trend to mobile video has been accelerated by the availability of 4G services – boosted by the launch of Reliance Jio in 2016 – new research has reported that the average download speed of 5.1 Mbps is less than one-third of the global average and just a little higher than the average global 3G speed of 4.4 Mbps.

Data sourced from Kantar IMRB, Financial Express; additional content by WARC staff